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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, everyone! :wave2: Just wondering if you could help me plan ahead for a vacation that is coming up. We're going to a place that will take approx. 2 days to get to including an overnight stay at a motel. I'd like to find ways to entertain the kids while we're travelling. Last time we vacationed, I felt guilty because we had the DVD players on for the kids about 80% of the time while we were in our van. I know that's uneducational and unhealthy to watch that much TV in a day.

Could/Would you please give me ideas of ways to entertain kids while travelling?

Any and all ideas would be greatly appreciated. :thanx:
 

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Car Travel Activity Book - EnchantedLearning.com

We also shopped ahead of time for things for them to open up every hour or so while traveling. comic books,puzzles, little game they could play...also brought along travel size games like connect4, monpolyjr...see what other friends & families have that you could borrow;)
Oh also each had their own lap table, pillowy on one side flat on the other, the pillow side made a little pillow to lean your head against for a quick nap or two too.
 
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We just have music most of the time. I used to put a basket of books beside them, but my youngest gets sick in the car now so I'm not going to do that anymore. They will play pretend with action figures or stuffed animals for longer than any sort of activity or game in the car. But we mostly just sing or talk - an occasional game of ispy when they get antsy.

I don't know how old your kids are or if they are used to travelling. I found that after the first leg of a big trip the kids just sort of zone out anyway and don't need entertainment.

Stay away from sugar, water only, no juice or pop. High protein snacks/lunches, peanut butter, egg salad. Stop when it's mealtime, don't try to push a little farther. Road trips are excruciating when the kids are on a blood-sugar rollercoaster. You'll get more out of regulating moods than you will out of providing entertainment.

If you are buying a meal, go to a mcdonald's playland so they can run around a bit. If you are going someplace warm, look for a rest stop with an outdoor area where they can play. Initiate a game of tag if they don't do it themselves. Give them a chance to exercise about 1/2 an hour at lunch & dinner, even though you'd rather be getting back on the road.

Bring an ice-cream bucket, put a container of cleaning wipes, some plastic bags and a roll of paper towels in it. You never know when someone's going to start puking.

Where are you going? If you are driving to Florida and normally listen to an iPod in the car by broadcasting over the radio, bring CDs instead. You will spend the entire first day readjusting the radio.
 

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Talk. About everything. Road trips are my favorite with my daughters.

How old are the kiddos?

A word game that we would play is: One person says a word. The next person must say a word that Starts with the last letter of the previous word. Cannot repeat words, cannot use names of people. A good strategy with this one that kids catch onto is that you try and make your word end with a difficult letter such as Y, E, and...I forget what the others were. Person that repeats a word or can't come up with one within a reasonable amount of time is out.

Try to figure out personalized license plates. Try to spot license plates from another state and see who gets the most out-of-that-state plates.

Listen to audio tapes of children's stories, or scary ones if kids are older and can handle it. Sing along with the radio together.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I don't know how old your kids are or if they are used to travelling. I found that after the first leg of a big trip the kids just sort of zone out anyway and don't need entertainment...
The girls are 4 and almost 7.

...If you are driving to Florida and normally listen to an iPod in the car by broadcasting over the radio, bring CDs instead. You will spend the entire first day readjusting the radio.
Good idea! DH is switching my cassette tape player over to a CD player. For the past week or two, there's a hole where my cassette player once was; DH didn't realize he was missing a part for the CD player when he and a friend were installing it. Hopefully, they fix it before our trip!:lol:
 

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Ok, mine are 5&6, so basically the same. Think about what toys they play with at home and try to bring some that travel well. My kids like to play pretend with their webkins at home, so I bring them in the car because they are easy to hang on to and no little pieces. My daughter loves the magnadoodle, great in the car because the pen is attached and can't get lost.

Travel games tend to have a lot of little bits, which is a total pain in the car. Kids drop things constantly and they can't pick anything up because they are strapped in to their seats.

It's a long uncomfortable day in a car seat, especially for the 4 year old. So make sure to stop and let her out every few hours. We usually stop for the bathroom about halfway between meals just to let people stretch. Let the kids go sock foot, or wear slippers. Put them in track pants or similar instead of jeans.

This isn't entertainment related, but bring a separate small suitcase for the overnight - pack the toiletries, pyjamas and change of clothes for everyone in the one bag. You'll be hauling so much stuff in for the overnight (cooler, valuables, teddy bears) you don't want to be messing with suitcases as well. Also makes it easier if you need to change on the road. If you are heading south make sure the bag has both shorts and pants, the second day could be hot or freezing, you never know - I've had to put on shorts in Maine and parkas in Virginia.
 

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You can put together a few different sheets for a BINGO game--instead of numbers you can put things on the "boards" like "Tennessee License Plate", "Highway Sign with the Number 5 on it", "Silver SUV", "A U-Haul trailer", and so on...these are things you might typically come across on a trip. The first one to yell BINGO gets a prize!

You can also:
~ play "I spy"
~ bring along a Book On CD
~ have a modified Karaoke sing-off
~ give the kids a map and have them mark off towns as you drive through/past them...this will also help them tell how close you are to the destination
~ Bring along a ton of old magazines and a glue stick or two (that you take into some air conditioning with you!)...they can search for specific pictures (again this would play into the BINGO or I-Spy games) and maybe put together a collage about the trip.
 
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If you want to take cards, crayons or small toys, keep in mind that what goes in your car has to come back out. The can't get down while you're driving to get things that fall on the floor, and when they drop their crayons and toys on the floor, it will create drama in the short term (MAMA I WANT MY PINK CRAYON) and a mess later on.

Honestly, I would travel as lightly as possible and not bother worrying about how unintellectual DVD's are. If it makes you feel any better, you might ban the TV the week before or something. Two days of TV watching isn't going to stunt their intellectual development.

I'd stick to a small amount of books and a couple small toys, maybe a pencil to draw with and anything else I'd keep tucked away with your luggage in case the DVDs no longer cut it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Honestly, I would travel as lightly as possible and not bother worrying about how unintellectual DVD's are. If it makes you feel any better, you might ban the TV the week before or something. Two days of TV watching isn't going to stunt their intellectual development...
I agree that TV watching for a couple days straight isn't going to stunt their intellectual growth; however, I want to get back to basics. KWIM? As a very young child, I didn't have electronical gadgets to entertain myself at any point of time. At the age of 6, I got to watch about 1 to 2 hours of TV each Saturday morning and that was it! If my parents could do it, why should it be so difficult for me? I don't want to be suckered into the lazy society that is being created. I want my kids to remember fun road trips...not a weird blur in their memory.:lol:

During the road trip, I've decided to try to let them watch one movie in the morning and one movie in the afternoon. The other time can be filled with other things.
 

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I think how they react will depend a lot on how much they rely on electronic entertainment on a daily basis when they are at home. If they spend a lot of time in front of a screen right now, a long road trip might not be the best time to decide to change their definition of entertainment. It might just result in you getting really, really annoyed and irritated, and them not having any fun at all.

If they don't currently spend a lot of time plugged in, then I would just have them bring one or two of their favourite toys or books. Whatever they do now to entertain themselves, they'll do just as happily in a car!

I was raised like you, BUT I also recall my parents' philosophy about children being seen and not heard, and I was expected to live by that same principle. So when we went on road trips, I got in the back seat and brought a book! When I went somewhere with my best friend, we would spend the entire road trip making up stories for each other.
 

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I think that you've gotten some good ideas here. I don't remember how old your kids are, but all of mine enjoy stopping at the welcome centers for each state (especially Florida's)and getting a handful of brochures to look at and talk about. They really like getting the ones for places we'll be going to. Dh and I have done the opening a new prezzie each hour thing and because we have three kids, they took turns being the one to pick a wrapped item to open. I bought new and used DVDs, special snacks, those Crayola magic wonder coloring thingies, etc. for them to open. I tried to get things that would appeal to all of them. You don't have to spend a lot of money to do this.

My kids are 19, 13, and 9 now and they either play their handheld games, listen to music on their mp3s, or watch movies when we travel. The majority of their time is spent watching movies and that's okay with us because they're quiet and they don't bicker. Sometimes we'll put in a CD and everyone in the car will sing along. When I was a kid I just took a stack of books with me and read and read for hours.
 

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There's always the license plate game. See who can spot how many different states. See if you can get all 50. Repeat.

The alphabet game. Look at signs as you pass. One letter per sign. Who can get to Z fastest. Repeat.

Hide and seek in the car. Kind of like "I Spy". Person who is "it" picks place in the car to hide - behind the rear view mirror, under the front drivers side - and the others have to "find" "it". Use either yes/no questions to narrow down the spot or hot/cold to indicate how close the guesses are to the spot.

Depending on scenery passing, take extra pit stops just to show them the world around them.

Those were some of the things we did as kids during long trips.
 
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